–by Mark Cipolloni–
Formula 1 World Champion Max Verstappen easily beat his arch-rival Lewis Hamilton to win the Spanish GP for the 2nd year in a row by over 24 seconds in his Red Bull Honda.
Verstappen always had Hamilton’s Mercedes under control, and he showed the real pace he had in hand by setting the race’s fastest lap late in the race despite his team discouraging him from doing it.
It was Verstappen’s third straight win, his 40th career win and he did it by leading the race from lights out to the checkered flag as he stretches his point lead at the front to 53 points over Perez, 170 vs. 117. Fernando Alonso is in 3rd with 99 points.
“It’s a big pleasure to drive with a car like this,” said Verstappen.
“A win here, it’s incredible. A strong weekend from myself, from the team. Hopefully we can keep this up.”
“What an awesome crowd we have here,” said a happy Hamilton. “And what a result for our team, I just want to take my hat off to my team back at the factory, for continuing to push.
“The Bulls are still a bit ahead, but we’ll keep chasing them down. They are still too quick at the moment, but one step at a time.”
George Russell started P12 and held off Sergio Perez for the final podium position to give Mercedes two podium positions as their upgraded car is performing well.
“A little bit surprised, kudos to the team for giving me a good car today,” said Russell.
“P12, all the way to P3, a sign of things to come. Really pleased I’m on the podium.”
While Perez recovered to fourth from 11th on the grid, it was still not a perfect weekend from the Mexican, and perfection is what he needs to take the fight to Verstappen this year.
Carlos Sainz Jr. was 5th for Ferrari in a disappointing day for the Spanish drivers in front of their Spanish fans. The other Spaniard, Fernando Alonso, could only finish 7th behind his Aston Martin teammate Lance Stroll.
McLaren’s Lando Norris started 3rd but his race fell apart by breaking his wing on Hamilton’s Mercedes in turn 1. Oscar Piastri was the best McLaren in 13th while Norris could only manage 18th – a disastrous result after a promising qualifying.
That ‘B’ spec McLaren car can’t come quickly enough – but they still need to get through Canada and Austria before it supposedly arrives in time for Silverstone.
Proof of concept – the new-look Mercedes W14 delivered, both drivers were happier, they were comfortably ahead of Ferrari and Aston Martin and are now second in the constructors’ championship.
F1 now takes a week off before flying out to Canada for the next race, and that will be fascinating. Can anyone close the gap to Red Bull? Will Mercedes still be in front or can Ferrari begin to address their weaknesses in race trim?
Race Results – 66 Laps
|1||Max Verstappen||NED||Oracle Red Bull Racing||+0.000s|
|2||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||+24.090s|
|3||George Russell||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||+32.389s|
|4||Sergio Perez||MEX||Oracle Red Bull Racing||+35.812s|
|5||Carlos Sainz||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||+45.698s|
|6||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant||+63.320s|
|7||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant||+64.127s|
|8||Esteban Ocon||FRA||BWT Alpine F1 Team||+69.242s|
|9||Zhou Guanyu||CHN||Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake||+71.878s|
|10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||BWT Alpine F1 Team||+73.530s|
|11||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||+74.419s|
|12||Yuki Tsunoda||JPN||Scuderia AlphaTauri||75.416s|
|13||Oscar Piastri||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||+1 Lap|
|14||Nyck de Vries||NED||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+1 Lap|
|15||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||MoneyGram Haas F1 Team||+1 Lap|
|16||Alex Albon||THA||Williams Racing||+1 Lap|
|17||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||MoneyGram Haas F1 Team||+1 Lap|
|18||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||+1 Lap|
|19||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake||+1 Lap|
|20||Logan Sargeant||USA||Williams Racing||+1 Lap|
Note – Verstappen scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race.
Verstappen on pace to destroy Hamilton’s F1 records
|Age||Hamilton Wins||Verstappen Wins|
|25||14||40 and counting|